After a total of 229 days since Prime Minister Narendra Modi first announced a lockdown in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, residents in Pune are eagerly waiting to cash in on the Diwali vacation.
Some are looking at an opportunity to escape from work while some want to exercise caution by staying at home.
The general public is looking at different ways which will balance Covid norms and stress-free vacations.
Children have also reported fatigue and tiredness with attending online classes and staying at home for the entire day.
“We are a group of eight cousins and in Diwali, we generally plan a visit to Mahabaleshwar or Goa. This year we are staying at home but we have organised a carrom championship,” said Rugved Sharma, a Pashan resident.
Sharma said, “From the next day of Diwali our self-organised tournament will start. We will keep it a knock-out format. The first round will have four matches, then two semi-finals and then final. This will continue for three days (one round a day). Evening sessions will be spent by playing cards.”
“Self-drive is the new theme for the Diwali vacation as people are even ready to travel by road for 12 hours and reach their destination. Goa and Mahabaleshwar are on high demand and most of the inquiries and booking have come for these two places. Even people are ready to go to Udaipur by road,” said Ashwin Kardekar, director of My Travelogue Holidays Pvt Ltd.
Flattening of the Covid curve has given a fresh lease of life to people as travelling agencies are getting more queries.
Mihir Laghate, a commercial artist has planned a six-day trip to the Andaman Islands with his brother and parents.
“Last seven months were too hectic at home. Now, with relaxation in place, we have decided to take a trip for breaking the current routine,” added Laghate who is travelling by flight via Chennai.
“I have done a complete enquiry regarding hotels and we have decided not to travel in a group for sight-seeing but we four will prefer a private cab,” added Laghate.
Kiran Shinde, an avid traveller and trekker has different plans this time.
“My son Varad is 9 years old, so I am not making any plans for this Diwali vacation. Even trekking is not allowed completely, you can walk and go to Sinhagad but via vehicle it is still not allowed. With restrictions for below 10-year olds in place, I prefer to exercise caution,” said Shinde.
Dr Sumit Mandale, an ayurvedic doctor, summiteer of world’s third highest Kanchenjunga and sixth highest peak Cho oyu will be doing various Ghatvata in three days.
Ghatvata are the ancient routes among hills which are between the Deccan plateau to Konkan which were used when there were no roads. Trekkers are exploring these routes for expeditions.
“I will be going for a trek along with Omkar Hinge, Aishwarya Ghare and Marisha Shaha. There are many Ghatvata in Kanad Maval ( west to Velha). We will start from Khanu will be descending from one route, that is from one ghat to Konkan and again will come back to by different route(ghat). We will finish our trek at Kelad,” said Mandale who will be covering Bocheghol Nal, Borata Nal, Singapur Nal, Bhik Nal and Shevatya ghat.
Rahul Saha, a businessman in the city has planned a 5-day trip to Mahabaleshwar.
“Every summer we travel to a hill station, but this time lockdown made us change our plans and instead of long-distance travelling we prefer to travel nearby with my 14-year-old daughter and wife,” added Saha.